Meet our 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows cohort!

Abba Walupakah - Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Abba Walupakah has over four years’ experience in the civic leadership sector both as a leader and a manager. Currently, Abba is a project coordinator for the ECOS Group’s Project for Enriching Soils Expending Natural Manure Treated (PRESENT) in Bukavu, DRC, where he focuses on project planning and management. He is also assistant to the dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at his former university (IUEA, in Kampala, Uganda) where he was the first guild president (2012-2014) and now volunteers as an initiative leader and career guider in and around the university. Upon completion of the Fellowship, as Abba carries on his normal consultancy work, he plans to boost PRESENT in order to reduce unemployment among the youths and empower the local women-farmers, to promote agriculture and reduction of misery in the region of Kivu in DRC.  

Alieu Jaiteh - Banjul, Gambia

Alieu Jaiteh has over eight years' experience working with blind and partially sighted people in the Gambia. He is the founder of Start Now, an organization with the mission to train and empower blind and partially sighted high school graduates with computer skills as a preparation for higher education and employment. He also works as a teacher at the School For The Blind, where he teaches keyboarding to blind children. Alieu holds a Higher Teacher's Certificate from the Gambia College School of Education, specializing in General Science and Agriculture and acquired leadership training on project management from Kanthari in India, as well as blind technique skills from Louisiana Centre for the Blind (US). Upon completion of the Fellowship, Allie plans to expand his organization as a regional hub to empower blind adults on ICT, and to campaign against societal prejudices and discrimination towards visually impaired people.  

Amel Lebatt - Nouakchott, Mauritania

Amel Lebatt is currently a student in law at the University of Nouakchott. When she was in high school she used to tutor younger students in English and French and has been very active in an association called Jeunes Citoyens de Mauritanie (Young Citizens for Mauritania). They feed the needy during Ramadan with a whole meal to break the fast. Amel was on national hospital shifts and part of the team who organized the fourth edition of the Forum de la Jeunesse et de l'Orientation, an orientation for young high school graduates. She organized sponsors to finance the event, had direct contact with the youth, and supervised the event working with a great team. When she returns home after the Fellowship, she plans to create an organization for the education of young girls in Mauritania.

Ejiro Okotie - Lagos, Nigeria

Ejiro Okotie advocates for women’s rights and particularly for those with disabilities. With four years’ experience in the area of sexual and reproductive health she advocates for the inclusion of persons with disabilities particularly women and girls in S&RH policies and programs. Standing against all forms of discrimination and social exclusion, Ejiro founded the Hope Inspired Foundation through which she gives people a voice through capacity-building, information, and independent living. She volunteers to train young girls in schools on HIV/AIDS and cancer, and to developing life-skills to make informed decisions, maximize their potential, and provide a safe space for them to share experiences and build informed alliances. Ejiro holds a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Lagos. Upon completion of the Fellowship, she plans to continue her work in SRH, further her course to improve the capacity of youths and advocacy influence policies affecting them.

Emily Rubooga - Kampala, Uganda

Emily Kaakyo Rubooga is a grass-roots advocate and gender activist with seven years’ experience in pioneering to ensure the voices and experiences of children and communities influence decision-makers. She's worked in Liberia and Tanzania on child poverty, human rights, environmental conservation, and gender. Recently, she served as technical advisor for Save the Children Uganda to ensure laws, policies, and resources work for children, push children up in the political agenda, utilize monitoring mechanisms to raise concerns, work on accountability and transparency in public income and expenditure, and see economic justice and redistribution, including tax advocacy and social protection. She holds BA Social Science, and postgraduate diploma in Public Administration and Management, and possesses research, strategic analysis and participatory programming experience. Upon completion the Fellowship, she will advocate for new campaign strategies to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations and promote use of social accountability mechanisms.

Harriet Kamara - Bajul, Gambia

Harriet Martha Kamara has taught senior secondary mathematics for four years and is a core and advanced mathematics teacher at Ndow's Comprehensive Senior Secondary School. She works tirelessly to change the statistics in the achievements of students in mathematics and science, by engaging girls to practice solving mathematical problems both manually and electronically outside school hours. She also coordinates the NSGA Peer Health club, focused on sensitizing students on issues they face in their society. She has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Leicester, UK and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. After the Fellowship, Harriet will continue to encourage girls to embrace the challenges of Mathematics and ICT by overcoming the stigma faced by women in our society, proving to the world that more women in STEM equates to the building of nations.

Ikuba Ona - Makurdi, Nigeria

Ikuba John Ona has over eight years' experience lecturing at the University of Agriculture Makurdi in North Central Nigeria. He is the founder and president of Royal dream Builders Initiative, an NGO registered in 2010 that organizes workshops and seminars for students, graduates and unemployed youths to equip them to innovate and acquire adaptive technology and requisite entrepreneurial skills. He also works to provide information that promotes the creation of small and medium enterprises and is skilled in community mobilization, ideas generation, networking, project planning and development. Ikuba holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Applied Chemistry from the University of Jos, Nigeria and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he intends to partner with government, universities, individuals and religious organizations to promote the development of a viable entrepreneurship ecosystem, through customized mentorship programs, for entrepreneurs in North Central Nigeria.

Janine Ampulire - Kigali, Rwanda

Janine Ampulire has over five years’ experience in various fields in the community development sector, building capacities of vulnerable population, especially women. Currently, Janine is a project manager at CARE International Rwanda where she focuses on the promotion of savings culture, enterprise development, financial education, and increasing financial inclusion through use of innovative technology solutions. She also volunteers in her local community through outreach programs organized by her local church (home cell group) which includes supporting poor families to start income generating activities, and volunteering as a Sunday school teacher. Janine holds a Master’s degree in Economic Policy Management and Bachelors in Quantitative Economics from Makerere University, Kampala. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Janine plans to utilize skills and knowledge gained to promote economic empowerment of vulnerable populations, focusing on advocacy for partnerships with private sector players to enhance enterprise development and formal financial inclusion.

Onesmus Shoombe - Windhoek, Namibia

Onesmus Hipandwa Shoombe attended the University of Namibia for a diploma in HIV/AIDS Counselling Management. He has attended several more courses in HIV/AIDS and other related challenges and currently serves as the workplace program officer for the Healthworks Business Coalition. He chose the track of Civic Leadership on the Fellowship to build a strong community that thinks and acts together in the field of implementation, and to increase awareness of social challenges through direct community services, engage in constructive dialogue with community non-profit leaders, to develop leadership skills, business acumen, and his professional network. Upon completion of the Fellowship, he plans to continue his work in Namibia Business Coalition and also run his bricks project in the Okahala village in Ombalantu, Namibia. He has a keen interest in writing a novel and is currently working on one titled: The Flood of Battle. He hopes to launch this on his return.

Karamokho Badiane - Dakar, Senegal

Karamokho Badiane has over two years’ experience in the management of social impact projects. He is currently a digital media strategist and social impact manager at Nelam Services, recently awarded the prize of Best Digital Agency in Senegal. His major responsibilities are to design and implement campaigns and digital solutions aiming to help resolve social issues through innovation. He is also the co-founder of two Senegalese startups, Baobab Entrepreneurship (which improves the success-rate of young African entrepreneurs through ICT) and AIA, focusing on the management of cultural projects. Upon completion of the Fellowship, Karamokho plans to keep on building communities through digital channels in order to activate them to raise awareness and lobby activities. He also intends to create a platform to shed light on powerful stories from inspiring African doers.

Kelvin Mutize - Harare, Zimbabwe

Kelvin Mutize has over seven years’ experience working with the marginalized community and specifically those living with HIV or disabled. Currently, he is the regional field officer for Champions For Life which works with adolescents and youth living with HIV Aids. His focus is training and leading teams into South and East Africa. He also volunteers at Endless Possibilities where he runs the media department and programs for the disabled in tertiary institutions. Kelvin holds a diploma in Information Technology from McMaine School of Computing, following his passion for using technology to tell the stories of people in the spheres he is already involved in. Upon completing the Fellowship he plans to continue his work in the nations he is in and to empower them to tell their stories to inspire Africa and the world.

Mark Akparibo - Bolgatanga, Ghana

Mark Kebo Akparibo is a social entrepreneur currently working on harnessing the potentials of non-timber forest products and has over eight years' experience in natural resource management in Northern Ghana. He is currently working as the center programs coordinator at the Community Self-Reliance Centre, a local NGO in Ghana. Mark graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi Ghana, with a combined major in Economics and English. He has also participated in various professional training programs including the Market Analysis and Development Methodology), Social Accountability Tools for the Africa region (World Bank Institute), and Facilitating Change and Citizen Engagement (World Bank Institute). Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Mark will use the experience gained to start Savannah Innovations Ghana, a social business focused on harnessing the potentials of non-timber forest products in Northern Ghana.

Collins Nakedi - Nairobi, Kenya

Collins Nakedi has four years' experience in community development and is co-founder and director of Hifadhi Africa Organization (HAO), a Kenyan NGO that promotes access to education, health care, water, and youth mentorship among pastoral communities and slums. Neither his siblings nor parents went to school, but determination saw Collins through a journey to creating sustainable equal opportunities for the underprivileged. Through HAO, he's installed offline e-learning systems in pastoral schools with no internet access or electricity and few textbooks, using low-cost solar powered Raspberry Pi computers to create hotspots that provide world-class K-12 content, Khan Academy, KA Lite, health and medicine books, interactive videos and other learning tutorials. Collins holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration (Finance and Management) from the United States International University in Nairobi, and on completion of the Fellowship he hopes to change perspectives about ethnic minorities and pastoral children through education.  

Nelly Shella Yonga - Buea, Cameroon

Nelly Shella is a passionate youth worker and community development agent with five years' experience working with civil society in the areas of youth and women empowerment, renewable energy, community mobilization, micro-finance, and sustainable agriculture. She currently acts as coordinator of the Rural Women Development Centre Cameroon, where she sees to the day-to-day running of its activities to promote women and youth empowerment, community development and sustainable agricultural management. She holds a BSc in Banking and Finance and is particularly interested in entrepreneurship and the important role it plays in advancing the status of women and the youth. Upon her return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to use the knowledge and skills acquired to serve her community through supporting the socio-economic growth of women and young people in Cameroon.

Rose Sylvia Nakafu - Kampala, Uganda

Rose Sylvia Nakafu has over four years’ progressive experience working in grass-roots mobilization, enterprise development, empowerment, and capacity building for smallholder coffee farmers in Uganda. She represents the youth at a farmers federation where she advocates for youth involvement in agriculture to combat unemployment. Rose Sylvia currently works as the membership and advocacy officer at the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) where she coordinates lobby and advocacy activities, evaluates coffee related policies, and conducts advocacy with government to ensure it offers an enabling environment for the coffee farming business. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Population Studies from Makerere University and upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, plans to continue raising awareness about the national coffee policy, to eventually lobby for the enactment of the coffee law, as well as facilitating the farmer field schools to increase practical knowledge regarding the coffee farming business.

Oluwamayowa Salu - Bariga, Lagos, Nigeria

Oluwamayowa Salu has over five years’ experience working to eradicate malaria in Nigeria, especially in the rural areas. He founded and runs The Iba Malaria Eradication Foundation, an NGO focused on eradicating malaria because of his childhood experience with the disease. Salu has distributed thousands of long-lasting insecticide treated nets and anti-malarial drugs, has built a malaria mobile app available in the Google Play Store, and has published a malaria comic book (currently in English) that will be translated into four major African languages and distributed all over Sub-Saharan Africa to reach millions of African children. Salu has won many local and international awards for his malaria work and is a Carrington Youth Fellow and a Social Entrepreneur Transforming Africa Fellow. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, he plans to innovate more effective programs to combat malaria.

Sara Idohou - Cotonou, Benin

Sara Idohou has more than three years of experience in working as social Activism to empower youths to become socially responsible citizens . She is the Founder and President of Young Leaders Corporation (YLC), an NGO specialized in training Youths on Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, and the CEO of Empower Pyramid, a Consultancy specialized on Coaching, Training and Tax Advices where she develops various training packages and new concepts to respond to the specific training needs of businesses in Benin. She holds a Master's Degree in Accounting, Control and Audit Management, after completing a prior Bachelor's degree in Finance and Tax Administration. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to work on the leadership of youths, Girls and Women by making them understand how important the role that they can play to help build our democracy and shape the good governance of our communities, starting from the grassroots.

Sheila Makindara - Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Sheila Makindara is a management professional with over 11 years’ experience in managing organizations, particularly NGOs and charitable organizations. Currently, she is a country director for Childreach Tanzania, where she is responsible for setting up the strategic direction of the organization and ensuring that it has the human and financial resources required to deliver the organization's programmatic work. In her free time, she trains young women and fresh graduates on skills for professional presence, interview skills, and building self-esteem. Sheila holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Dar es Salaam, where she majored in Human Resources Management and assessed the impact of employees' participation in non-governmental organizations. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sheila plans to continue her work in improving access to children's education, health and protection, as well as inspiring and empowering young girls and women to reach their potential.

Sie Nyamande - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Sizwile Nyamande has over five years’ experience working with vulnerable communities on environmental management, food security and livelihoods, youth and women empowerment, and child protection. She currently works at Environment Africa, a local NGO, as a team leader in Hwange District, Zimbabwe. Sizwile holds an MSc in Disaster Management from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Zimbabwe and has good monitoring and evaluation experience. Her Master’s thesis was on gender differentiated impacts of climate change in marginalized rural communities of Zimbabwe, and she presented a paper at the Second Research Seminar for the Institute of Development Studies, NUST in 2013. She is also the vice-chairperson of the Steering Committee for Hwange Education Working Group, and chairperson of the Victoria Falls Cluster of the Better Schools Program in Zimbabwe. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she will use the experience gained to enhance her work in vulnerable communities. 

Sinazo Didiza - Mthatha, South Africa

Sinazo Didiza has worked for five years in social science and community development. She is currently working as the youth center program coordinator at Lovelife, where she mentors young people who work towards the prevention of HIV. Her duties include building the capacity of these young people to become youth advocates for healthy sexuality and the prevention of HIV. Sinazo has good interpersonal and advocacy skills and uses these to develop stakeholder relationships that will enhance the implementation of Lovelife programs. Currently, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is studying towards her Master’s degree in the same. When she has completed the Mandela Fellowship, she plans to continue her work with young people and seek opportunities that will expand the inclusion of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights education in schools. 

Sallieu Timbo - Freetown, Sierra Leone

Sallieu Timbo has seven years’ experience engaging communities on sexual gender base violence, youth sexual reproductive health, civic participation, livelihoods and employment, child protection, HIV/AIDS and Ebola emergency response. Currently, he is an assistant program coordinator for Restless Development, where he is leading the implementation and coordination of empowering young women and girls in Freetown urban slums. Sallieu volunteered in a remote community for nine months, facilitating life-skills and sexual reproductive health lessons in secondary and primary schools. He holds a diploma in International Relations from the Milton Margai College of Education Science and Technology, where he focused on diplomatic practice, peace and conflict resolution, community development, and economic relations. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sallieu, plans to conduct training for colleague staff on his track and continue to work with young people especially young women and girls in communities.

Ugali Ujang - Monrovia, Liberia

Kavai Ugali Ujang is an experienced computer user support trainer and property management specialist with over 11 years’ service to the United Nations Peacekeeping and Volunteerism in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Liberia. Currently working with the UN Mission in Liberia, but temporarily assigned to the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, Kavai focuses on designing ICT training programs and configuring computer systems. He's also the founder of Karibu Group, an organization currently designing a national ICT Education Framework which would enable K-12 schools to effectively integrate ICT with education in Liberia. Upon return from the Fellowship, Kavai plans to mobilize resources to equip 500 schools (out of an existing 1,200) with computers and expert trainers by 2030. His programs, in partnership with K-12 schools nationwide, will introduce over 250,000 students yearly to innovative skills in technology that would generate meaningful outcomes for students and their communities.

Waberi Mohamed - Djibouti, Djibouti

Waberi Omar Mohamed is a sales engineer by training with a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics from a University in Tunisia, and has been an active citizen for three years including working with young members of the non-profit organization, Junior Chamber International Djibouti, he led for two years as founding president. His organization gathers young people working as volunteers to create a sustainable and positive impact in the community, and they run projects from beach cleaning to blood donation days, seminars about job tools for the students of the University of Djibouti, and training in first aid techniques delivered to truck drivers in partnership with the local Red Cross. With the new skills and experience he hopes to gain from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Waberi plans to empower his fellow young citizens to initiate a civic culture and implement projects that will have a significant impact for the most vulnerable. 

Zeinabou Saidou Baraze - Niamey, Niger

Zeinabou is the general secretary of the Association Potentiel Terre. Her work in promoting employment among youth and women of Niger is based specifically in agriculture and small scale aviculture. In 2010 she graduated in History and Theory of Architecture at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada. Speaking English perfectly, she was head of the health section at MBA Niger, an insurance company. Zeinabou will participate in a six weeks program in Civic Leadership at the Arizona State University in Phoenix, followed by six weeks of internship. She believes in the capacity of youth and women in Niger and the Fellowship will be a rewarding experience for her. She is excited to return to Niger, enriched with a more acute sense of leadership and other developed skills, that will not only benefit her future projects but her Nigerien compatriots, too.  

Moira Kelly Mugisha - Burundi

Moira Kelly Mugisha has seven years of experience working for women and children-centered organization and four years in the field of Education of Orphans and Vulnerable children. She is currently the co-founder and Programs Manager of School Aid Burundi, an organization that strives to improve the quality of life and the education of HIV impacted school children in Burundi. Moira Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics from Uganda Martyrs University and Certificate of Entrepreneurship training from Leuphana University of Luneburg, Germany. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to share her acquired skills and knowledge with her community and to engage in civic leadership cultivation programs at schools to inspire youth on how to be responsible citizens. She intends to promote increased access to quality education for vulnerable children